Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Interesting meshes between internet stuff

Over at Ampersand recently, Bean gave an excellent post on whether men can be feminists (Alas a Blog has recently subtly made the switch to a multiple people posting blog, I've enjoyed it). She finishes with this paragraph:

Then there's the other sort of non-feminist (in fact, sexist) man who claims to be a [pro-]feminist man. The one who uses it to get praise (and more) from women. I'm not sure what bugs me more, with regard to this type of man -- that he would attempt to do this, or that, for so many women, it works. Men are praised and nearly worshipped for doing what should simply be expected behavior. Taking care of kids, not being sexist, not allowing people to be sexist around him, not being abusive, not being a rapist. These are things that men should simply do as part of being a human. But, because they are men, they are praised. Says a lot about the sad state of our world, IMHO.

For the non-web savvy, IMHO = "In my humble opinion", but that's not my point.

In the meanwhile, The Onion this week offers these cooking tips which includes:

If you are a man, you deserve to be gushed over just for reading these cooking tips. That's so great!

I thought the coincidence was quite amusing. Plus The Onion is just, as normal, hilarious.

By the by, anyone reading this know how to indent quotes in html? Feel free to make use of the "E-mail Me" link at the top of the page if you do.

Santorum's gotta love his neighbors

Atrios points something interesting out:

The Silhouette Lounge

523 Linden Street - Scranton, PA 18503 - (570) 344-4259
Named Best Gay Bar in Northeastern Pennsylvania
for 2000, 2001 and 2002
By the Readers of Electric City!

The offices of Rick Santorum in Scranton:

527 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18503
(570) 344-8799

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Looks like George W Bush is getting wary of Santorum after all

Here. Permalinks ain't working well (Damn you blogger) so you may have to scroll down.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Howard Dean continues to kick ass

I got this in an e-mail from the Howard Dean campaign:

Senator Rick Santorum and President Bush provided a painful
reminder this week of the chasm that still must be crossed to
reach the dream of equal rights for all Americans.

By equating homosexuality with acts such as child molestation, incest,
bigamy, polygamy, and adultery, Senator Santorum wounded all Americans
who believe in equal rights, not just gays and lesbians. His attempt
to sanitize his repugnant remarks as "legitimate public policy
discussion" was disengenuous at best.

When President Bush supported Senator Santorum and called him "an
inclusive man," he further betrayed the ideal of equality for all. And
he continued a path of divisiveness that illustrates clearly why so
many have questioned his commitment to equal rights.

Ironically, today is the third anniversary of the signing of the Civil
Union Law in Vermont. That groundbreaking law guaranteed gay and
lesbian Vermonters the same rights under the law that are enjoyed by
every other citizen in that state. I signed that bill despite vocal
opposition because I believed then, as I do now, that leadership means
standing steadfastly for equal rights for everyone.

This election is about a simple choice - it's about what kind of
country we want to live in. I want to live in a country that is
united, a country in which everyone is guaranteed equal rights under
the law regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

Reaching that dream of equality for all is the personal responsibility
of every American. We must stand together against the continued
assault on our civil rights from the extreme right. And we must demand
moral leadership.

You know, the only problem with this is it shouldn't be so amazingly cool that a prominent Democrat is so strongly criticizing Santorum while standing strongly for gay rights. This should be expected from our elected leaders. But you know what, it isn't. And as long as Dean is the only prominent Democrat standing for gay rights and criticizing the Republican agenda, he'll be the only one I support for the presidential nomination. Not as if my vote counts in the primary or anything.

Check out Dean's homepage here. Plus there's the official Dean campaign blog here.

Great and informative comic

The new This Modern World gives you all the information you need as to why the huge contract to Bechtel should be pissing you off. (you need a free Salon day pass, blah blah blah. Quit your bitchin')

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Santorum's Slippery Slope

Yes that is an alliteration. I'm so talented.

I've been participating in a debate over at Amp's site, specifically his comments section, on Senator Rick Santorum's (R-PA) recent homophobic ramblings, where Santorum said basically, if we allow sodomy, we have to allow bigamy, incest, and I don't know, let's throw in murder and nun-beating for good measure.

My favorite post in the comments comes from JRC (no web page, unfortunately. You'll have to check out comments on Amp's page to see his/her/its writing's):

My favorite response to this particular slippery-slope argument is to just turn it around:

"If there's no right to sexual privacy, then it's constitutionally acceptable to ban opposite-sex sodomy, oral sex, kissing, or any sexual expression at all, even within marriage. If the Supreme Court says that the constitutional right of privacy does not cover private consensual sexual activity, there will be no constitutional reason to extend legal protection to consentual, heterosexual sexual contact inside marriage."

Well, let's assume that Santorum . . . [is] correct for a moment (I don't think [he is], but let's pretend). Which do you believe is worse for our nation in the long run. . .legalizing group marriage, or outlawing kissing?

Sure it's a rediculous scenario, but no more rediculous than "legal sodomy = legal bestiality," and just as "logical" according to their professed point of view.

Edited so that it makes sense out of context (JRC refers to another of the posters in the comment thread).

I'm glad the EPA is doing it's job

Did I say glad, I meant mortified:

Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) criminal agents are being diverted from their normal investigative work to provide security and drivers for agency chief Christie Whitman — and getting long lists of do's and don'ts to keep her happy.

EPA agents assigned to investigate environmental crimes have at times been ordered to perform more personal tasks, such as returning a rental car for Whitman's husband after a trip or sitting at a table until the administrator arrived for a restaurant reservation, according to interviews with several EPA senior managers.

The lists of do's and don'ts instruct agents who chauffeur the EPA administrator to ensure they rent only a Lincoln Town Car, tune the radio to smooth jazz or classical music and set the volume low, and keep an eye out for a Starbucks coffee shop or Barnes & Noble book store.


With agents already designated for homeland security tasks, the regional offices sometimes are left without investigators for days at a time when Whitman is in town.

Via Atrios. The administration sure is concerned about the environment. The sooner Bush and Cheney and the rest of the administration is impeached and prosecuted the better. Too bad that will be never.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

And stuff continues to happen

If you don't know about what's happening with Rick Santorum's bigoted remarks head to Atrios, and scroll down. Since my weeklong not saying bad things about people thing has ended, I can say that Santorum is a bigoted, idiot asshole unfit to hold a Senate seat. In other words he's a Republican. (I forgot where I read this, but someone said the big political mistake these people are making is to explicitly state the Republican agenda, I found that amusing)

Don't know if I'll get to much today. I did get Radiohead's The Bends yesterday on sale for $8, so I'm enjoying that. I guess if you want to find stuff, head over to Atrios, Tom, August, Hesiod, Body and Soul among others. And don't forget to check out Mikhaela's latest cartoon. If you haven't just looked through Mikhaela's blog and toons do it, now.

Have fun. I'll see if I post later today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The Onion is on top of things as ever

From the Onion, this is funny but disturbingly true:

Tortured Ugandan Political Prisoner
Wishes Uganda Had Oil
KAMPALA, UGANDA—A day after having his hands amputated by soldiers backing President Yoweri Museveni's brutal regime, Ugandan political prisoner Otobo Ankole expressed regret Monday over Uganda's lack of oil reserves. "I dream of the U.S. one day fighting for the liberation of the oppressed Ugandan people," said Ankole as he nursed his bloody stumps. "But, alas, our number-one natural resource is sugar cane." Ankole, whose wife, parents, and five children were among the 4,000 slaughtered in Uganda's ethnic killings of 2002, then bowed his head and said a prayer for petroleum.

Blog switch

Amp informs we bloggers that apparently, "Blogger", the program used for Raznor's Rants and any other blog on blogspot, sucks ass. For one thing, he notes, the permalinks don't work. And after a quick check, I noticed that no, the permalinks here at Raznor's Rants indeed do not work. So I may be moving to a new blog sometime in the near future. I don't know, I probably won't have time to really look at it until maybe reading week, but we'll see.

Update: Am now looking at bloggedup.com. Maybe I'll make the move to Raznor.com? Well, for now, lunch. Then class. Then work. Then more class. Then more work. Then if I'm not to tired, maybe sometime after midnight make the move.

Bush's Blood Cult

Wayne Madsen over at Counterpunch has a good article on the subject. Read it.

Almost as disgusting

This earns a bit fewer disgusting point only because it doesn't involve directly killing children:

April 21 — President Bush's advisers have drafted a re-election strategy built around staging the latest nominating convention in the party's history, allowing Mr. Bush to begin his formal campaign near the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and to enhance his fund-raising advantage, Republicans close to the White House say.


The president is planning a sprint of a campaign that would start, at least officially, with his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, a speech now set for Sept. 2.

The convention, to be held in New York City, will be the latest since the Republican Party was founded in 1856, and Mr. Bush's advisers said they chose the date so the event would flow into the commemorations of the third anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Via Tom. You know, if the Bushies want to hypocritically use the death of thousands for their own political gain they could at least do it subtly. Nixon did bad things, but at least he had the respect for the American people to lie about it.

Absolutely disgusting

The US military has revealed it is holding juveniles at its high-security prison for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, known as Camp Xray.
The commander of the joint task force at Guantanamo, Major General Geoffrey Miller, says more than one child under the age of 16 is at the detention centre.

However, Maj Gen Miller has revealed little more about their welfare.

Maj Gen Miller says the US is holding "juvenile enemy combatants" at the centre, confirming rumours of children being held.

Full article here. Via Hesiod, Tom and Atrios.

Okay, so I'm behind the ball on this one. But then these bloggers I think all live on the East coast and wake up before 11am. Still one of the most disgusting things I've heard.

Howard Dean, I love you!

Just when I'm starting to doubt Dean's veracity as representing "the democratic wing of the democratic party" he goes and says something like this:

In an interview published yesterday with the Associated Press, Rick Santorum, the third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. I am outraged by Senator Santorum’s remarks.

That a leader of the Republican Party would make such insensitive and divisive comments—comments that are derogatory and meant to harm an entire group of Americans, their friends and their families—is not only outrageous, but deeply offensive.

The silence with which President Bush and the Republican Party leadership have greeted Sen. Santorum’s remarks is deafening. It is the same silence that greeted Senator Lott’s offensive remarks in December. It is a silence that implicitly condones a policy of domestic divisiveness, a policy that seeks to divide Americans again and again on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

The thing is, this shouldn't be so remarkable. Every democrat should be jumping on Santorum bigotry. And so long as they don't, I see no reason to support anyone besides Dean.

American Express: Card of Evil

If I had an American Express, I'd cut it up.

Say that you are one of those fortunate people who manage to pay off most of their credit cards every month. Then imagine your surprise when one of your cards is cancelled for no apparent reason. That's exactly what Farooq Firdous experienced. Last summer, Firdous, a Pakistani who got his green card in 1997 after 11 years of legal residence in the U.S., received a phone call from an American Express representative regarding a credit card he held. The rep requested that he send the company a mountain of paperwork: three years of tax returns, six months of bank statements and a job verification letter.

His wife, Yasmin Khan, who is Indian, received a separate phone call that same day for her own AmEx credit card. In each case, the rep told them they had 15 days to submit the paperwork or their cards would be cancelled. Firdous and Khan called back later – twice – to ask reps if they could send the request in writing. They refused.

Firdous and Khan were confused because they always paid off their cards on time. Firdous called the company back again. "I told them strictly, 'You're probably discriminating against minorities with Muslim names,'" he recalls. He and his wife refused to submit the documentation, which on at least three different occasions company reps said they needed for "security reasons."

A few weeks later, each received a letter saying his or her credit card was cancelled: "You did not provide the banking information, financial statements, income tax return, and/or identification documents requested." The letters also stated that the reasons for cancelling the account included "information received from a consumer reporting agency," hinting that credit problems might be to blame.

But Firdous' credit is excellent, according to the credit report he subsequently obtained. (After his AmEx card was cancelled, he immediately applied for and received a Citibank Mastercard.) The status of his closed AmEx account reads "Paid/Never late."

The government's post-9/11 infringements on civil liberties have been well documented and debated. But what happens when private companies take the fight against terrorism into their own hands? If you're Pakistani, or Muslim, or both, you might just find your credit cards cancelled, despite the good credit you've worked hard to build.

City Limits has found 12 cases in which Muslims, nearly all Pakistani- Americans, with good credit, all of whom claim they made no unusual or exorbitant charges or late payments, had their American Express credit cards cancelled. We found no cases of non-Muslims' credit cards being cancelled outright, or even non-Muslims who were asked to send in paperwork for existing accounts.

Excerpt from an article on AlterNet. Link via Amp Ersand.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Hate Radio

This is my first real test in my attempt to go a week without saying anything bad about anybody, as suggested by Sonia Sanchez, so I'll make this rather an attack on the bigotry of a Des Moines talk radio host.

Hesiod has all the details, but here's what's happening:

What provoked WHO radio's Jan Mickelson into his weeklong rampage was a national Day of Silence that members of Roosevelt High School's Straight and Gay Alliance were taking part in April 9. SAGA is one of 52 student-led extracurricular clubs (Bible Studies is another). It supports gay and lesbian students and has some members who are neither.

The event was in solidarity with victims of intolerance. Remember Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student who was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die?

When the news reached Mickelson, the darling of local conservative talk radio - a man who can't seem to let a mention of gay folks go without grabbing his mike and his soapbox - it was manna raining down from heaven.

For starters, he referred to SAGA as "the sodomy club" so often that, according to Al Foote, the counselor who is club sponsor, some listeners thought that was its actual name. He made the false claim that its activities were on school time with taxpayer money and involved all students. He concluded the school was pushing sexual activity and homosexuality on the kids.

Read the rest of the article, and when you're done, you might want to read Mickelson's response to the above article. A complete ad hominem attack against the author which has a similar rhetorical structure to the writings of Gene Ray.

What's disgusting, besides the blatant homophobia, is the fact that he targets high school students, kids going through a time in their life where it seems that human worth is measured by their ability to fit in, and who specifically have an innate difficulty to that. What's also as disgusting is how remarkably ignorant such a wide cross section of America is regarding the nature of homosexuality. All because they have to have their unwavering faith that they know everything there is to know about anything.

As Cinnamon J Scudwerth wisely said, "So, religion's for fools, huh? Fools and liberals."

10 great moments in jingoism

Over on Salon. (You need to click through ads, blah blah blah, deal with it).

Oh, and I know I'm not really offering very interesting analysis of late. There's two weeks of classes before Renn Fayre, and that means a lot for me to do between now and then. We'll see how things go.

Spinning Leung

Atrios writes a good article in the New York Press Billboard. Go read it.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Apparently, Dick Cheney's been dead for two years

The Smoking Gun has the details.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Foxa Americana

A great editorial in Ha'aretz about Fox "News". (via Cursor)

America's Fox News network has been demonstrating since the start of the war in Iraq an amazing lesson in media hypocrisy. The anchors, reporters and commentators unceasingly emphasize that the war's goal is to free the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. The frequency, consistence and passion with which they use that lame excuse, and the fact that nearly no other reasons are mentioned shows that this is the network's editorial policy. The American flag lies in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, while the logo accompanying the programming is Operation Iraqi Freedom, the official name given by the Pentagon. Fox journalists display what appears to be genuine happiness, innocent and sincere, brainwashed in nature, in the expectation for the wonderful day when the American army leads the Iraqi people from slavery to freedom.

With effective, rapid and decisive rewriting of history, there is an impression that the network has erased past relations between Iraq and America. It is difficult to find any mention of the fact that the U.S. armed Iraq in its war against Iran in the 1980s, or that it turned a blind eye when Saddam Hussein brutally put down a 1991 uprising with chemical weapons after the first Gulf War. The argument about the connection between Saddam's regime and Al-Qaida and the attack on the Twin Towers has disappeared, and the "axis of evil," which also included Iran and North Korea, has evaporated. There's practically no mention of the stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction and how they were hid from the UN inspectors as being the official reason for the war. There's no reference to the American economic interests in Iraqi oil wells. Every operation to take over the wells and prevent their sabotage was altruistic, for the sake of the Iraqi people and preservation of its assets and resources.

It goes on, it's worth a read, even if it is all pretty obvious. But the end of the article is where we realize why this is pertinent to an Israeli newspaper:

But Fox broadcasts to the entire world. Like CNN, it presents to the globe the face of America and its perception of reality, and it exports its dark side, the infuriating side that inspires so much hostility: the self-righteousness, the brutality, the pretension, hubris, and simplicity, the feverish faith in its moral superiority, the saccharine and infantile patriotism, and the deep self-persuasion that America is not only the most powerful of the nations, but also that the truth is always American. Fox looks like the media arm of the superpower mentality, indifferent to any perspective that is not American and alienating vast portions of the world. Its war coverage is as governmental as that of Iraqi TV. This is American TV.

For some reason, ever since Fox showed up on Israeli cable, the other foreign networks have become unnecessary. CNN was nearly removed, BBC World has been thrown out of the cable package, and both are suspected of hostility to Israel. Fox, for whom Israel's enemies are "the bad guys," is the perfect alibi for the new fashion of censorship. Who needs BBC when there's Fox? That has dangerously narrowed the horizon of thinking available to the viewers of foreign news stations in Israel.

Right wingers on looting

Apparently it's good. (Via The Antic Muse)

I saw Sonia Sanchez speak and read her poetry the other day, and she said that we should try going a week without saying anything bad about any person for a week, and I'm trying it. But man oh man, it's more than just hypocricy. When Rush justifies the looting of Iraq by essentially saying that nothing that comes out of Arabia is of cultural value, I mean, the transparent racism of it all. If you're going to be a racist, at least have the respect of being subtle about it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Not much bloggin' of late

Sorry, been busy. I'll see if I can get some more blogs in the near future.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Humanitarianism in the military

Body and Soul has a good essay about it. Read it now. Jeanne is now my hero.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

New GYWO redux

The previous link messed up to the extent that I can't fix it. So, read it. There you go.


Friday, April 11, 2003

Two important questions

So now that the military part of Iraq is over, what do we do with the Kurds? They've enjoyed a fairly autonomous de facto state for the past dozen years, I doubt they'd give in to being part of a larger Iraqi state. So, without knowing too many details, we could create a Kurdistan who's borders are determined by the existing borders of Iraq and the southern boundary of the "No Fly Zone". Okay, there's your Kurdistan. Let's pretend that all the internal-Iraqi politics of this are solved at this point: the Kurds are happy, the rest of the Iraq is happy.

Fine, now how do we make this palatable to Turkey and Iran? The proposed boundaries of Kurdistan as drawn by Kurdist nationalists take up parts of Turkey and Iran. Now that the Kurds have a state with an infrastructure, what's to stop them from starting a land war with Turkey and Iran? And more to the point, what's to prevent them from winning? There would have to be some assurances that the Kurds don't do this, still, that wouldn't stop the Kurdish rebels already in Iran and Turkey from taking heart in this and redoubling their efforts. And in any case, the concept of an internationally recognized Kurdistan at their borders is not an agreeable concept to the Turkish and Iranians governments.

But of course, all this is moot if we just invade Iran. Fucking chickenhawks.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Guns and race

From the Washington Post via Tom Tomorrow:

Yesterday's debate suddenly veered from guns to race when Cubin criticized a failed Democratic amendment that would have banned gun sales to drug addicts or people in drug treatment. After noting that her sons, ages 25 and 30, "are blond-haired and blue-eyed," she said: "One amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug treatment. So does that mean that if you go into a black community you can't sell any guns to any black person?"

Because, what, every black person uses drugs? I dunno, the complete idiocy of this comment makes it hard to get particularly offended by it. Cubin is obviously trying to follow the old Republican tactic of saying, "hey you Democrats are in reality racist, so all you neeeee-groes should vote GOP, dawg." And of course, in the process says the most blatantly racist thing imaginable.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Two things over at Demagogue

First of all, Bush is trying to nominate a Federalist theocrat into another judicial position. The Bushies aren't even going for subtlety anymore. Read the whole thing.

Once you read that, though, you may want to read about the backlash Michael Moore faced for his Oscar speech, including:

-- On the day after I criticized Bush and the war at the Academy Awards, attendance at "Bowling for Columbine" in theaters around the country went up 110% (source: Daily Variety/BoxOfficeMojo.com). The following weekend, the box office gross was up a whopping 73% (Variety). It is now the longest-running consecutive commercial release in America, 26 weeks in a row and still thriving. The number of theaters showing the film since the Oscars has INCREASED, and it has now bested the previous box office record for a documentary by nearly 300%.

Read the rest.

PATRIOT II, read it quickly, I'll probably be deported for posting this

Alternet has a good rundown on the PATRIOT II act that Evil Overlord Ashcroft is trying to get passed. Since the original PATRIOT act didn't eliminate enough liberties.

A case of WTF

So an anti-government Iraqi militia takes a southern Iraqi city without assistance from US/UK forces, and a CIA agent tells them to withdraw or be bombed. That seems kind of blunt.

Link via Cursor.

Here's some arts and crafts for you

Courtesy of August's latest comic. Get your scissors and enjoy (I know I have).

I should be laughing or vomiting in disgust

at the reporting on Fox News.

Check out the videos and prepare to be ashamed to be an American.

Monday, April 07, 2003

More comic relief

Mickey Z. over at Counter Punch gives a great re-edit of a CNN article:

CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina. Declaring "a vise (made of depleted uranium) is closing" around (the doomed citizens of) Baghdad, a confident (sic) President (sic) Bush Thursday told an enthusiastic (but rigged) audience of (brainwashed) Marines, corpsmen and their families that the days of Iraqi leader (sic) (longtime U.S. client) Saddam Hussein's regime are numbered (but Bush wasn't able to count that high).

"Having traveled hundreds of miles, we (sic) will now go the last 200 yards (sic)," Bush declared to the (handpicked) crowd of about 20,000 (Ted Nugent fans). "The (colonial) course is set (by Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney). We're (sic) on the advance (to get that oil). Our (sic) destination is (complete control of) Baghdad and we (sic) will accept nothing less than complete and final victory (for the corporations seeking access to valuable resources and cheap labor)."

Read the rest.

Amusing site of the day

For those of you who are fully aware of what the PATRIOT act states know that the FBI can at any time go to any library and demand information about any individual and the library is legally bound to never say that the FBI visited. Well, August points out to this site that lets libraries know what they can say that's still technically legal under the PATRIOT Act.

Of course, this is more than a mere humorous diversion for those who read it. This is defense of the First Amendment by librarians. Thank God for that. I'm sure this is the kind of thing that keeps John Ashcroft awake at night.

Hooray, I have a fan in the Philippines

I got this message, sent to "raznor@reed.edu" which is the e-mail address someone can only get from either this blog or from my comments on other blogs.

Greetings to you Dear Prospective Friend & Partner,

With warm heart I offer my friendship, and I hope this mail meets you in good time. However strange or surprising this contact might seem to you as we have not met personally or had any dealings in the past, I humbly ask that you take due consideration of its importance and the immense benefit it will be to you.

May I properly introduce my humble self to you. I am Dr. Mrs. Luisa Ejercito Estrada, wife of ousted President Joseph Ejercito Estrada of the Philippines. After careful consideration based on my instincts, I have resolved to contact you for your most needed assistance in this manner. I duly apologize for infringing on your privacy, if this contact is not acceptable to you, as I make this proposal to you as a person of integrity. The confidentiality of my contact with you is of absolute importance due to my present political status as a senator.

You may not be very conversant with proceedings of the political turmoil in my country which led to my husband’s depose from power. Expressing this from my point of view may be biased in your opinion, hence you may read the following articles to have your assertion from a neutral point of view.





To the point. The pressure on my family is overwhelming, and we desire to safeguard our future through investments in commercial and residential properties abroad as well as profitable ventures. Hence my proposal to you to render me your most needed assistance in this regard.

The fund to be invested is in currently in a safety deposit trunk with a private security firm in Europe lodged in my name. The trunk is stocked with hard currency (US Dollars) totalling $18,500,000. Due to the embarrassing surveillance on my family’s activities, the need to contact a capable and trustworthy foreigner without a trace to our family handle this investment arose, and I hope we have found such a person in you.

If you are willing and able to render me your most needed assistance, your role in this project will be to act on my behalf as a trustee to receive the safety deposit containing the funds from the Security firm and proceed with the investments on our behalf immediately.

I want to assure you that this transaction is completely safe and risk free. The reason for having a cash safety deposit was a fallback plan of my family, as we envisaged this situation we are in today. At the moment, all my husband’s accounts have been frozen, and mine under investigation.

At this point, I want to reemphasise the need for utmost confidentiality and secrecy for the safety of this transaction and our investments you will be handling.

For your reliable assistance, I am offering you 15 %($2,775,000) of the funds.

I thank you in advance as I anticipate your assistance in enabling me achieve this goal. On hearing from you, I will be contacting you further with details of the mutual conclusion of the transaction. As you may understand, due to the possibility of bugging, it is not safe to communicate with me via phone or fax. This is why I have communicated with you with my private email address, and I like us to keep this way, for the safety of this transaction, until we meet in the near future.

Please contact me whether or not you are interested in assisting me. This will enable me make alternative plans, in the event of non-interest on your part.

With warm regards,
Dr. Mrs. L. Estrada.

You know, in case this were real, I'd feel bad about, you know, exposing it to the world like I am. (yes that's hyperbole) But she's the one who sent a confidential message to someone who she's never met, who maintains a web log, and who she would only know as Raznor. I mean, how trustworthy could I be.

Meanwhile, over at The Register Lester Haynes tells about similar tales that lead me to believe this is the work of 419ers out of Nigeria. Read the article I just now linked to. It's amusing.

This was the funniest thing that I got in my e-mail since I started this blog. Thank you Nigerian scam artists!

Comic relief

Fark has Fox News through history. There's some real funny ones there. Check it out.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Who's "leading" the country?

In case you missed the USA Today profile on George W, Ugga Bugga has a good summary of it. Go read it. Particularly interesting I found was this:

Bush advisers say he will revise the war plan if he becomes convinced that it's not working.

Okay, I'm about to make a comment about what happened with Hitler in World War II, in case there are Freepers or general pro-war conservatives reading this (man I'd be soooo psyched if there were) let me just say that I'm not saying Bush is Hitler. I never say that, I say there are similarities, but to say "Bush is like Hitler in this way, therefore is exactly like Hitler in every way" is a historically inaccurate simplification. But of course, the counter I hear on the right is always something along the lines of, "Bush isn't like Hitler in some specific ways (ie Bush doesn't have a moustache), therefore is not like Hitler in anyway at all." Please, spare me that.

Anyway, on to my Hitler parallel. The German tribes have had a history of strategic geniouses, from the Prussians and so on, and Hitler benefited from this by having some enormously brilliant tacticians at his disposal who helped him take over most of the European land mass in about a month. And as long as things were going well, Hitler let these tacticians do what they do best.

Of course then came D-Day, and as the Allies were making their final push into Berlin, Hitler, who fancied himself knowledgeable of military strategy started more and more deciding on the strategies of the German Army. As a result the Allies had an easier time than not of defeating the Nazi war machine.

This isn't uncommon. It's part of the same hubris that makes someone decide they can be monarch of earth that they will keep the people who could help them from doing their jobs.

And now there's Bush. Hitler had at least some experience in the Army during World War I to make him believe that he knew something about military tactics. Bush's military experience is just going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam.

So, what does this mean? It means if things go bad, Bush will make things worse. It means that a war that's already pretty messy will get worse.

Support our troops. Get Bush the Hell out of the White House.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Brilliant new Ted Rall comic


Friday, April 04, 2003

Death of a Journalist

Kaveh Golestan (pictured), Iran's most renowned photo-journalist, was killed by a landmine in northern Iraq on Wednesday at the age of 52 . He was an artist and inspiration to a new generation of photographers who were not even born when he covered the 1979 Islamic revolution.

He loved Iran and its richness of culture with a passion and energy he brought to everything he did. For that he was constantly engaged in a struggle with clerical authorities, who he believed had long betrayed the noble ideals of the revolution. At times his accreditation was withdrawn and he was banned from working; occasionally he was summoned for interrogations and threatened with prison.

A small and rather shy man, Kaveh would have no problems setting up his camera even in the most crowded of gatherings. He had a loyal following among university students who attended his photography classes and benefited from the exhibitions and websites he helped to organise (see portfolios).

It is a sad reflection of the superficiality of our times that the US television media barely mentioned Kaveh's death, even though his news photography won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for his images of Iranian forces executing Kurds before a firing squad.

Article here (link via Atrios again). Check out his portfolios on the page. There are some truly amazing photos there.

Well, if by "victory" you mean something completely different

Tom Tomorrow links to this article from the Washington Post:

The Bush administration has devised a strategy to declare victory in Iraq even if Saddam Hussein or key lieutenants remain at large and fighting continues in parts of the country, officials said yesterday.

The concept of a "rolling" victory contemplates a time -- not yet determined -- when U.S. forces control significant territory and have eliminated a critical mass of Iraqi resistance. U.S. military commanders would establish a base of operations, perhaps outside Baghdad, and assert that a new era has begun. Even then, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers would remain to help maintain order and provide humanitarian assistance.

You know, 'cause it makes more sense than waiting until the fucking war is over or something like that. Kind of like how we've "liberated" Afghanistan by leaving the country in utter chaos. But this way we would be able to attack Iran or Syria earlier.

If Bush were standing right here, he'd get such a punching. Not that I condone the punching of government officials or anything like that. But man, such a punching.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Could this be the first mainstream protest album of the current war?

We've already dissent by the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam showed their dislike of Bush, and this summer, Radiohead will release an album entitled "Hail to the Thief".

I don't know what the album will constitute, but the first track is entitled "2+2=5", so this could be rather cool.

Keeping Score

Check out Iraqometer and see how we're doing over there.

And don't forget about the the Iraq body count for a more serious web site.


Update: Which is not to say that the Iraqometer isn't serious, as in it's just a bunch of fabrication. It's just presented in a more, shall we say, jovial way.

We're really fucked . . .

if the most credible source of journalism in America is The Onion. But according to Ed Pilolla that's exactly what's happening:

For starters, the Onion ran a front-page story under the headline "Dead Iraqi would have loved democracy."

How true, how true. Of course, we barely see any dead Iraqis in American newspapers or on American TV.


Still, the Onion was just getting warmed up. Open it to page 2 and read a news brief on "Vital info on Iraqi chemical weapons provided by U.S. company that made them."

A darn serious newspaper like the Onion has shown itself to be different than, say, Fox News.

Fox is the network that reported on March 20 that Saddam Hussein was killed in the first night's surprise cruise missile attack. Problem was, he probably wasn't. Then, like many, many, many other news outlets, Fox subsequently reported that if he wasn't killed, then Iraqi command and control had been "decapitated." Problem was, it wasn't.


Someday, at some time in the future, there will be a day of reckoning for the American media. Future generations will ask why the coverage of the Vietnam war was so radically anti-government at all levels, while many of the same journalists were so passive during the invasion of Iraq.

If those future generations pull up archive video of, say, Fox News, they might think that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are the same person.

But not if they read the Onion.

It's a good read, I kind of quoted the meat of it, but go ahead and read the whole thing anyway.

In case you're not pissed off enough

Read how Bush stole the Florida election. Did I mention how evil Bush is?

A new discovery for me

Check out Clay Bennett and his editorial cartoons. They're brilliant.

And speaking of cartoons, you might want to check out Mikhaela's blog and her war-cartoon roundup as well as her own cartoons which are also brilliant.

Just a recommendation. It's been slow blogging for me recently.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Now time to play "who said that?"

"I would not say that we've been effective in this campaign because it seems to me that the goal in life is to avoid crises, not to manage them once you're in them. And I feel that this was an avoidable -- probably an avoidable situation."

Okay, what treasonous dog said that? Some college professor? An anti-war protestor?

No, it was Donald Rumsfeld four years ago, talking about Kosovo. But then he was criticizing a war plan with a damn dirty Dem in office. Criticizing war plans with a Republican in office is treason, and tryable as such.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Dick Cheney a Shit-Eating Bastard, Pentagon Officials Say

Article here, but here's it is:

WASHINGTON (Reuters): Senior pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have reached the consensus that the vice president is a shit-eating bastard.

"In the latest briefing, those of us who remember working with the bastard when he was Secretary of Defense for Bush I were wondering what words would best describe him," one official said. "I think my main man [General] Tommy [Franks] suggested, 'copious motherfucker,' but that didn't stick. Besides we already use 'anal retentive motherfucker' to describe Rummy."

After a three hour meeting, in which such suggestions as "Shit for brains", "Sack of Donkey Shit" and "Vomit Spewing Shit Goblin," finally "Shit-eating bastard" was suggested.

"It was perfect," one Second Lieutenant said. "Cheney's a bastard who eats his own shit. How simple can you get?"

The name will be now used in official documents circulated around the Pentagon throughout the duration of the current war.

As of press time, the shit-eating bastard was unavailable for comment.

Are Saddam's speeches pre-recorded?

This telling evidence makes it seem they probably are.

Happy Make Fun of the Cheneys Day!

Neal Pollack has declared today "make fun of the Cheneys day" in West Blogistan in response to this letter sent to a parody site by Cheney's lawyer. Check out Pollack's site, quite a few humorous things going on there.

Hitler was a saint

Compared to Saddam, apparently.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Forget Stalin or Hitler.

The worst ruler in world history is Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Pentagon says.

"The Iraqi people will be free of decades and decades and decades of torture and oppression the likes of which I think the world has not ever seen before," Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told a Pentagon news conference on Monday.

Clarke's comment was in line with a mounting stream of comments from Washington that have demonised the Iraqi leader as U.S. and British troops now look as if they may take longer than expected in removing him from power.

Saddam has been condemned for his exceptional brutality against his own people but historians generally agree that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and Soviet leader Josef Stalin were responsible for killing more people than any other dictators in world history.

Okay, I'd comment more, but I'm busy hitting my head against the wall many, many times.